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ELECTIONS 2004: SHIFT IN BALANCE OF LGA

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A new voice is set to speak on behalf of local government as a consequence ...
A new voice is set to speak on behalf of local government as a consequence

of the latest round of local council elections (click herefor the LGCnet Elections 2004 mini-site).

For the first time since the Local Government Association's formation in 1997, the chair will be nominated by the Conservative party grouping this year. By convention the association chooses its chair from the largest single political party

represented in local government.

The changes take effect at the LGA's July general assembly at the annual

conference in Bournemouth, when the Conservatives will decide their

nomination. The current vice-chair of the LGA, who holds the position on the

Conservative group's behalf, is Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, who is also the

leader of Kent CC.

Brian Briscoe, LGA chief executive said: 'The LGA represents councils of

all political persuasions across the country. Our strength is our ability

to speak with a common voice, not on behalf of any one interest group, but

on behalf of local government as a whole. This is an exciting time and we

look forward to continuing to put local government's case with passion and

persuasion.

'Political parties at the LGA have successfully put local government first

in making an impact with government, and I have no doubt this will

continue.'

The all-party association calculates its political balance based on the

political make-up of the number of sitting councillors represented across

the country, weighted for population and council-type. Control of each

executive and spokespeople is shared out to all the parties on a

proportional basis.

Subject to independent verification by the University of Plymouth,

Conservatives are now the largest single group, with 35.8 per cent (up from

34.4 per cent). Labour has 34.9 per cent (down from 37.8 per cent).

Liberal Democrats hold 21.8 per cent of the LGA's voting strength (up from

20.7 per cent) and the independent councillors represent 7.5 per cent of

councillor strength in the country (up from 7 per cent).

The LGA remains an organisation driven by cross-party consensus, with no

single party being in a position of overall control.

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